Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Photo: Pencils by Richard Steih Beautiful shot. Thank you!

"The true bottom line is, and will always be, talent and excellence. Whatever you decide to do, the important thing is to do it well. You can't always find the job or opportunity you may most desire, but whatever job you do get, do it well. And it will lead to other opportunities." Ahmet Ertegun

"Success is a spiral with trying, failing, learning and growing, and that's what excellence is." Ben Cohen

"Recognize that people from headquarters, particularly staff, never know what is going on. Ask the workers directly and you will learn a lot more." Richard A. Moran

Sharpen those pencils

Nine ways:
Nine days and the fall radio sweeps begin. What can you do in the nine days remaining to get your talent performing at their best? Here are nine ways.

1. Call-in sick. Take a day away from the office. No heads up, no tip, no wink, no nod, no clue. Just burn a sick day. Get up a 5am. Listen to your radio station(s) all day. Using a second radio play your biggest share stations "against" yours in real time. Take notes, write down everything you hear, everything you feel. Think about what you're hearing. Note what you are not hearing. At the end of the evening write down what you learned. Make a to-do list of things you need to tighten up. Doing this the right way you can count on your dinner tasting great and sleeping really well - you'll be mentally wasted. Done right, it's a two legal pad day.

2. Get a second opinion. Got a group programming exec or a consultant or a good friend in or outside the firm? Set it up that they will listen to your station on the day that you know (and they have no idea) you will be calling in sick. With their input you can check your homework.

3. Assign your talent some homework. Ask your team to prepare for a one-on-one meeting with you. They need to come prepared to discuss the following:

A. Why do people listen to our station? What are they listening for? What sets us apart? What does WXXX mean to people? What do they expect? What do your friends think of our station?
B. Why do people listen to your show? What makes your show different from everything else people can listen to while you are on the air? What do people expect to hear on your show?
C. What can I do to help you to be more successful?

4. Discuss homework. Meet with your talent to talk about their homework. Listen. Take careful notes. After the meeting ask yourself - What did I learn? What can I do? What can we do?

5. Provide talent with audio. Give each of your talent airchecks of the programs that are up against them, the in-demo competition that are now (perhaps) only call letters in an Arbitron ranker. You need for them to hear them as shows, as real competitors. Have them do a second homework assignment. Have them listen to the airchecks and tell you why...

they think people listen to the competitor, what they believe people are listening for, what they feel sets the competitor apart, how do they think the competitor is different from us, how is the show they heard different from their show, what can we do better?

6. Ask talent to listen to themselves. They agree to listen to their aircheck after every show every day for five days - on the honor system. They select what they believe to be their best show of five.

7. Schedule a pre-game. A one-on-one with you, each talent brings their best aircheck into the meeting. Listen to the show together and have them tell you about why the show was their best of five. Ask them to tell you what would have made it a better show. Listen carefully. Take notes. Reserve comment.

Next: The two BIG steps that ensure the winning performance.

Bonus: 7 Stupid Thinking Errors You Probably Make - via lifehack here.

The Quotable Mel: The guy that admits he's just no good at being a #2 is having a hard time, again. Playing #2 to regulators and lawmakers, well, that really sucks (especially when it's costing money). Mel seems to love running his mouth and saying stupid things that get picked up by business writers. The guy has a history of playing agent provocateur. Check out his comments about the CBS Evening News in BW (Peter Elstrom filing). "Let's eliminate it. You know, I mean who cares?" Plug and play CNN? Ends up it was all bark and no bite but it's so quotable. My sense is Mel would have been better served taking a meeting with someone smart, someone that really understands news and video, someone like Michael Rosenblum. Keep in mind, Mel is the same guy that once said William B. Williams was a hack; that Mel, he kids but he is so money. My odds on the merger remain 6 to 5 against. This is only the second time I have bet against mighty Mel. The first being his odds of hanging on at Veeahkom, he never had a chance.

Congrats & cheers: Michael Maness named Gannett's new VP of Innovation and Design. Linda and Robert Williams.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! THANK YOU!!! Awesome review of the basics and practical real world tools which can be used at every station.

My favorite quotation from Chairman Mel was that classic about kicking sales people in the butt until sales improved. Yep, thats the way to motivate people kick em when theyre down. He left CBS radio in bad shape because he ignored it thinking he knew something about television, the movies and video stores (HE DIDN'T AND SR GAVE HIM THE BOOT).